July 06, 2021

Invocation at NYC Council Stated Meeting by Rabbi Michael S. Miller


Invocation at NYC Council Stated Meeting

by Rabbi Michael S. Miller

Exec. VP & CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York

June 30, 2021

Ribono shel olam, L-rd of the universe.

We ask that you bestow your Divine blessings on the Council of the City of New York. We beseech You, as we are living in precarious times.

On one of the hottest days of the calendar year, we witness our society as having become perilously polarized. Our views on politics, ideology and issues are rigidly frozen in place, ever more distant from our counterparts. Isn’t it all too frequent that we don’t merely disagree, rather we demonize?

We all know that hate crimes are being reported in abundance by multiple faith, ethnic, language and gender sectors. But do we pause to recognize that our hostility toward the “other side” venomously contributes to societal climate change, the poisoning of the public atmosphere?

When tragedy is experienced, gun violence on the streets of our city or a building collapse in Surfside, Florida, we seem to take “time out” from internecine nastiness to grieve, mourn together, to console one another. But why must it take, why must we wait for a calamity for there to be a semblance of comradery, of unity?

As the wise, biblical King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes/Kohelet, “eit likroa” – there is a time for ripping, for tearing; “v’eit litpor” – and a time for sewing, for stitching.

The social fabric of our city, of our state, of our nation is already ruptured.

“A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven.”

Now is the time for mending . . .

The verse continues: “eit lachashot”, a time for silence; “v’eit lidaber” and a time for speaking.

The repairing will not happen spontaneously, on its own. The voices of leadership need be raised and be heard. The divides need to be bridged. The abysses need to be joined. The chasms need to be spanned.

King Solomon then concludes this passage: “Eit milchama” – a time for battle. Yes, there is a time for conflict. “V’eit Sholom” – a time for peace. Now is the time for peace.

L-rd, we pray that You instill within the Members of this legislative body the strength and fortitude to lead, to heal, to build, to bind, to love, to be the agents of peace.

“Oseh Shalom b’mromav, hu yaaseh Shalom aleinu”

May G-d who makes peace on high, make peace for all of us, among all of us. Amen.